Briggs & Little has been the name of the woolen mill located in York Mills since 1916. Previous to that it was called Little’s Woolen Mills, and previous to that York Woolen Mills.
The mill was first started in 1857 by George Lister who was one of the original grant holders in the Harvey area. Over the first 30-35 years the mill changed hands a few times. In the 1890’s it was bought by Roy Little, who ran it until 1916 when illness forced his family to move to the Praires for a dryer climate. At this time the business was bought by Mathew Briggs and Howard Little, giving us the name it has held to this day.
Briggs & Little carried on under the ownership of these two gentlemen until the sudden passing of Mr. Briggs left half ownership to his son Russell. The younger Mr. Briggs continued on with Mr. Little in the business until 1948, when Russell sold his share to a life long employee Mr. Ward Little.
Ward Little and Howard Little now carried on as partners until 1954 when Roy Little (Howards son) became Ward Little’s new partner.
Ward and Roy ran the mill from 1954 until 1978 when Ward sold his shares to his Grandson, John Thompson and Roy sold half of his shares to his son John. Then in 1988 John Thompson and John Little became the sole owners of Briggs & Little, and remain so.
Historical facts about Briggs & Little
- It has been re-built each time after 4 fires. The most recent being in 1994.
- The first colors other than white, grey, and black where introduced in the 1940’s and those included Scarlet, Royal Blue, and Paddy Green.
- Partially powered by water until 1994.
- Ward Little worked at this mill for over 60 years.
At Briggs & Little you get to see the entire process from start to finish. Before your eyes, raw wool, much of it from local farmers, is transformed into brightly coloured yarn.
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